Final Tally Shows Sarah Palin Defeated In Congressional Race


There’s another thing to be thankful for this week for those concerned about keeping the most extreme voices out of power.

Sarah Palin has officially lost the Alaska Congressional race — again, with Democratic incumbent Mary Peltola nabbing a win. Peltola scored a surprise victory in the first Alaska Congressional race of the year against Palin and her fellow Republican candidate Nick Begich III, but the winner of that election was only set to serve for what was left of the last term of the late Rep. Don Young (R), who represented the state for decades before dying in office. Peltola now seems pretty popular. In the second election of the year, the winner of which is serving for a full term of two years, she almost passed 50 percent before further tabulations were even completed.

Alaska used ranked choice voting for the election in which participating voters could pick multiple candidates and rank their choices. The goal was for somebody to pass 50 percent of the ballots that remained, and if nobody did that on the first round, then the last-place finisher was eliminated with their ballots redistributed appropriately. Voters don’t have to pick more than one candidate, and the terminology for ballots excluded from the count because no further picks were made beyond a contender who lost is “exhausted ballots.” The process, which was also used for this year’s Alaska Senate race, continues through however many rounds are necessary for a candidate from the field to pass 50 percent. Even with a substantial portion of the Begich votes moved into the Palin column after he was the first of the two eliminated, it wasn’t enough, and Peltola finished nearly 10 percent ahead.

She had 54.9 percent of the vote, while Palin had 45.1 percent. Hundreds of thousands of votes were cast overall. Like Wyoming, the entire state shares the same House district because of its lower population. About 11.6 percent of Begich’s voters picked Peltola as their follow-up choice — a smaller portion than didn’t pick anybody next at all. About two-thirds of the overall total of Begich voters selected Palin next. In the Alaska Senate race, Republican Lisa Murkowski has also won re-election against a Trump-supported challenger whose campaign emerged amid outrage over the Senator’s decision to support Trump’s impeachment after last year’s Capitol riot, although she already wasn’t exactly a favorite of far-right Republican figures.